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Why is mentoring important?

Mentoring allows team members to learn from one another and share important advice and ideas that may not always be gained during the normal working day. Team members are continually developing in their roles and learning important skills, such as how to be an effective communicator, how to deliver feedback and how to think creatively, all of which can be discussed through a mentoring partnership. At PHA Media we assign every member of the team with a mentor. Mentors are part of a different department and are a different level to the mentee, and so the benefits of this partnership are felt both ways. As a mentor you learn how to effectively impart your knowledge in a clear and accessible way, and the mentee will have an opportunity to seek new perspectives and advice from someone outside of their immediate team. We even have examples of the partnership working in reverse so to speak, with senior directors learning from junior members of the team who have a great knowledge of social media, design etc.

What is the best way to deliver mentoring?

Mentoring meetings at PHA take place face-to-face as regularly as needed (for instance once a month) and usually take place in an informal setting, such as a coffee shop, which is important as it helps to create a relaxed dynamic. The mentoring partnerships that we’ve orchestrated at PHA are a great way to ensure people are exposed to a variety of knowledge from across the agency, but crucially mentoring isn’t limited to a scheme like this. Mentoring can be delivered in a number of different forms, and might not immediately be something you identify as ‘mentoring’. Learning from a colleague about a subject matter you’re not familiar with, gaining advice from a cross-agency team member on how they’ve handled a difficult situation, or following-up with a training provider on an interesting topic, are all forms of mentoring and demonstrate the vast array of ways you can learn from those around you.

Should mentoring be consistent, or personal?

Consistency to a mentoring partnership, such as the scheme that we have at PHA, is useful as it means the mentor and mentee can build trust and understanding, thereby helping to improve the advice that’s given. Keep in mind however that mentoring is only of use so long as those involved are gaining something useful from it and it doesn’t need to be continued if it comes to a natural conclusion. Personal advice will naturally become intertwined into a mentoring session, as advice and knowledge are imparted from personal experience. But it’s important to remember that this is designed to be a constructive partnership and so try to keep it focussed to the goal in mind.

What is HR’s role?

For PHA, the role of HR is one of orchestrating and overseeing. We find that once we have partnered team members together on the scheme, they are happy to keep us updated on how the meetings are going, what benefits have been gained from them and whether they would like to explore partnering with anyone new.

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